ITF: MLC enters ‘new chapter’ for seafarers’ rights
The ITF has welcomed the positive outcome of the third meeting of the Special Tripartite Committee of the ILO (International Labour Organization) in Geneva. The STC has agreed on a new amendment to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 and will now be submitted to the next session of the International Labour Conference for adoption.
The amendment, when it enters into force,§ will address a potential contractual gap for those seafarers who unfortunately fall victim and are held captive on or off a ship as a result of an act of piracy or armed robbery against ships.
The seafarers’ wages and other contractual entitlements will continue to be paid during the entire period of captivity. This will provide the families with the necessary means of survival to partially alleviate the unbelievable psychological distress they undergo whilst their loved ones are held hostages.
Dave Heindel, chair of the ITF seafarers’ section, and spokesperson for the seafarers’ group at the ILO session said: “This result has been a critical step forward for seafarer protections. With the agreement of the shipowners and member States, we managed to secure an amendment on wage protections, a resolution on shore leave, one on crew abandonment and one for the inland navigation sector, which will provide a way forward for our colleagues working on tugs and inland equipment. Overall, I believe the week was successful for all in the maritime sector.
“The MLC has entered a new chapter today. We have always known how challenging this would be to propose such an amendment and we are pleased that the seafarers’ position has been recognized by the social partners and governments, as a necessary instrument to provide Seafarers with a greater protections.”
The adoption of the amendment was not the only positive outcome of the week-long meeting in Geneva, in fact a number of important resolutions have been adopted.
The Seafarers Group and the Ship Owners Group have jointly submitted three resolutions to draw the attention and to call for action by the Governments on vital issues, like the facilitation of shore leave for seafarers and seafarer abandonment.
The Seafarers Group has also tabled a resolution concerning the decent work in the inland navigation sector, drawing the attention on the importance of internal waterways as a sustainable mode of transport for both of cargo and passengers, calling for the ILO to consider convening a sectoral meeting to discuss decent work in the inland navigation sector.
“The adoption of the resolution concerning decent work in the inland navigation sector is a very welcomed and timely addition to the positive outcome of third session of the Special Tripartite Committee”, remarked Paddy Crumlin, the ITF president.
“This is the acknowledgment that the inland navigation personnel are faced with unique living and working conditions that require special consideration.
“Whilst we celebrate for the adoption of this resolution, our support and thoughts are with our inland navigation affiliates in Panama, who are fighting a bitter battle against the Canal Authority’s retaliation for raising concerns about safety in the towing operations within the Canal’s new locks, an action we firmly condemned”